How we started:
The Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish was financially unstable and it was initially thought that by focusing on stabilizing one of the larger worship sites, it would be beneficial for the entire parish. At the request of one of the parish priests, a group of parishioners and non-parishioners were selected with the goal of “Saving St. Michael’s” and coming up with a fundraising plan. This group, meeting throughout 2020, presented several ideas to representatives from the Diocese of Rochester to accomplish this mission.
All proposals were either denied or dismissed.
A few members from the above-mentioned group reached out to an attorney, Brody Hale, JD who specializes in saving churches from closure. Mr. Hale has successfully saved 17 in the United States from closure.
After consulting with Mr. Hale, it was determined that there is only one option for saving St. Michael's Church from unnecessary closure. A proposal was drafted to save St. Michael’s. The newly formed Saint Michael Society submitted the final proposal to the Bishop of Rochester and the Pastor of the parish for their consideration in late November 2020.
During this time, the St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish formed a “Strategic Planning Committee” to decide which worship site would close.
Recently the pastor has announced that his recommendation to the Bishop would be to close St. Michael's Church.
What you will read below will explain the proposal to protect St. Michael's from closure.
What is the proposal?
Two paths exist to preserve St. Michael's Church as a Sacred Space and prevent closure.
The first path is for the Diocese of Rochester to engage in a lease agreement with the Saint Michael Society. The Saint Michael Society would take over care (physical and financial) of St. Michael Church.
The second path is for the Diocese of Rochester to sign the church building over to the Saint Michael Society. The Saint Michael Society would then take over care (physical and financial) of St. Michael Church. Under this path the Society would become an association of the christian faithful allowing them to take possession of sacred goods - building and contents.
What does this mean for St. Michael Church if the Diocese of Rochester agrees?
St. Michael's Church would be preserved as a Catholic sacred space and could be used for prayer, devotions, tours, and sacred music. Donations will be needed, as there would be no funding from the parish or the Diocese of Rochester.
What about weekly Mass?
Under Canon Law (Church Law), one mass a year could be held on the dedication day of St. Michael Church - September 29th - The feasts of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels. If the Bishop allowed, additional masses could be held along with baptisms, weddings, and funerals.
What about the other buildings on the campus? - The offices, hall and rectory?
If the Diocese of Rochester allowed, the Saint Michael Society would take over the responsibility for these buildings. The goal would be to include service providers and organizations into the future of the campus that improve and enrich the neighborhood and the lives of the people it. The Father Tracy Advocacy Center is interested in space on the campus to perform their mission.
How do we know St. Michael's Church is in danger of closing?
The pastor is recommending that St. Michael's Church close. He has presented this information to the parishioners and his recommendation to the Bishop. Information on the strategic planning process can be found on the parish website - SFXCROCHESTER.ORG
Is the Diocese of Rochester able to remove the stained glass windows, organ, or other sacred objects?
No. All items in the church would remain. Including windows and sacred objects.
Can money raised by the Saint Michael Society be used in current or future lawsuits?
No. The money raised would ensure the good repair and operational expenses of St. Michael's Church as a sacred space.
What happens if the Saint Michael Society is unable to maintain preservation of the church?
The church would return to the control of the Diocese of Rochester.
The Benefits of the Proposal
If the proposal is accepted it would ensure St. Michael's remains a sacred space for generations to come.
St. Michael's Church would still be able to be used by the St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish & the Diocese of Rochester.
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish (composed of three worship sites - St. Michael, Our Lady of the Americas (Corpus Christi) and Annunciation Church) is under great financial pressure. The Saint Michael Society proposal would relieve the Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish of financially and physically maintaining St. Michael Church.
Why this proposal is so important
If the proposal were accepted, the Saint Michael Society would take custody of St. Michael Church in order that it can remain a Roman Catholic sacred space and by doing so they would be ensuring that one of the most prominent tangible beacons of the Catholic faith continues to shine brightly in Rochester. We will be ensuring that the church continues to exist for the benefit of all residents within the neighborhood where it is located and the city of Rochester, and more broadly, as well as those who live far from it. St. Michael’s Church will continue under the society’s care to be available for such activities as St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish and the Diocese of Rochester may wish to host within it.
Over the last 130 years, St. Michael Church has inspired countless individuals who have entered its interior to more completely live their Catholic faith; we pray that under the care of the St. Michael Society it will be able to continue to do so for many years to come.
Are there any other options?
No. Unless the Bishop decides to keep St. Michael's open then the only option that exists under Canon Law (Church Law) is the one proposed by the Saint Michael Society to ensure St. Michael’s Church remains a Catholic sacred space.
SEE THE ENTIRE PROPOSAL BELOW
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